Finding the molecular basis of quantitative traits: successes and pitfalls

Nat Rev Genet. 2001 Jun;2(6):437-45. doi: 10.1038/35076585.


Understanding the molecular basis of quantitative genetic variation is a principal goal for biomedicine. Although the complex genetic architecture of quantitative traits has so far largely frustrated attempts to identify genes in humans by standard linkage methodologies, quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been mapped in plants, insects and rodents. However, identifying the molecular bases of QTL remains a challenge. Here, we discuss why this is and how new experimental strategies and analytical techniques, combined with the fruits of the genome projects, are beginning to identify candidate genes for QTL studies in several model organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Humans
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*